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Rhetorical Analysis

Derek Perez

The University Of Texas At El Paso


Rhetorical Analysis


In the article The Effects of Social Network Site Use on Appearance Investment and

Desire for Cosmetic Surgery Among Adolescent Boys and Girls, the authors discuss the role of

social network use relating to the alterations of adolescents body image. The article features

three contributions to the theory about appearance pressures and appearance changing strategies.

The first contribution, according to the authors, the study shows that appearance pressures may

also be experienced online and are thus not constrained to face-to-face interactions and

traditional media (Sex Roles 2014, p. 291). Second, the current study highlights increased

appearance investment as an underlying mechanism for the effects of appearance pressures on

appearance-changing strategies (Sex Roles 2014, p. 291). Third, the study contributes to

knowledge about the role of gender (Sex Roles 2014, p. 291).

The article presents the argument that social network use can greatly affect adolescents

into altering their appearance. This article will be analyzed for its rhetorical and the argument

that it presents.


There are essential tools in analyzing an academic paper, the understanding of ethos,

pathos, and logos. The understanding of ethos is the understanding of analyzing the paper for

credibility. For example, does the author give enough sources and credit in their paper? Or is

there enough evidence from sources that can hold up theyre argument?. pathos deals with the

emotional analysis of the paper. An example can be does the reader relate emotionally with the

authors emotions?. Finally, logos deals with the logical analysis of the paper. Example, does

the authors paper contain evidence, points, and the paper in general make sense?

To establish credibility, the authors must understand the ethos appeal. For example, the

authors establish credibility with acknowledgements, thanking the fund for Scientific Research

of Sexuality, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science for providing funds for their

research (Sex Roles 2014, p. 293). The authors appeal to ethos is effective because they state the

institutes where they possibly give lectures. D. A. de Vries, J. Peter is part of the Amsterdam

School of Communication Research (ASCoR) in the University of Amsterdam, P. Nikken for

The Netherlands Youth Institute, and H. de Graaf for Rutgers WPF (World Population

Foundation) (Sex Roles 2014, p. 283). Furthermore, they have their paper reviewed by a peer.

We also thank Patti Valkenburg for her valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper

(Sex Roles 2014, p. 293).

For pathos, the authors express an emotional appeal in the article, if any. For example,

some would feel a short amount of sympathy for the adolescents who wish to alter their

appearance because of pressure to fit in. As for the pathos appeal, the article had an attempt in

the introduction. In their daily lives, adolescents across the world experience appearance

pressures from several sources (Sex Roles 2014, p. 283), Therefore, the article didnt express or

have any attempt to express any emotional appeals. Finally, it was not very effective for

expressing some sort of pathos appeal as this article aims to become a more clinical article.

To see if the article is logical, the authors must show that they understand the logos

appeal. In the logos appeal, the authors support their argument with many references they cite in

the article, over 50 references (Sex Roles 2014, p. 293-295). The authors argue that social

network use may influence adolescents wanting cosmetic surgery and they argue logically with

various statistics and research. Zero-order correlations showed that desire to undergo cosmetic

surgery, appearance investment, and frequency of social network site use were generally

positively associated at and across time points among boys and girls (Sex Roles 2014, p. 289).

Finally, the authors kept with their subject. Therefore, the article should not have any logical


Aside from the ethos, pathos, and logos appeal, the articles overall appeal is whether it

was consistent, if the article had counterarguments, etc. The overall tone of the article was

consistent as it didnt shift at all and the impact that may have had on an audience wouldnt be

very impactful. Though, the authors did not include any counterarguments because they kept

consistent with their primary argument, the use of social network has effect on adolescents

wanting to alter their appearance. Next, was the article somewhat persuasive? No, its more

informative than it is persuasive because it gives stats and research about the impact of social

network use with cosmetic surgery for adolescents. The strongest aspect in the article is the

amount of research the authors showed to further and strengthen their evidence in their

argument. Though, the weakest aspect is the lack of a pathos appeal and any counterarguments.

This article should also appeal to a certain audience that may find this paper interesting

and worth reading. For this article, a scholarly audience with interest in the gender studies field.

Gender may also moderate the effects of appearance investment on cosmetic surgery.

According to objectification theory, appearance investment will result in appearance changing

strategies aimed at improving physical appearance (Sex Roles 2014, p. 286).


The articles argument was analyzed if it was logical, if it established credibility, if it

showed an emotional appeal, and for its overall appeal. The article showed that social network

use can greatly affect an adolescents physical appearance, but in contrast to the authors

expectations, the use of social network and the alteration of the physical appearance of

adolescents were not moderated by gender. Therefore, the article presented its argument

logically and with full credibility.



de Vries, D. A., Peter, J., Nikken, P., & de Graaf, H. (2014). The effect of social network site use

on appearance investment and desire for cosmetic surgery among adolescent boys and

girls. Sex Roles, 71(9), 283-295. doi:10.1007/s11199-014-0412-6